Today in LGBT History – OCTOBER 15

Musings of an Aging Lesbian

Yesterday I forgot to say ‘No.” I’m now the web diva and Facebook administrator for the North Olympic Boating Club. I actually don’t mind. I just hope I can figure out what to do  enough to not look stupid. Thank goodness I have my own web diva in Barb Gottlieb so I feel safe. Whew!

Rudyard Kipling said: If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten. The snippets of LGBTQ history here are the stories of our lives, the stories of the giants on whose shoulders we all stand. Learn about them then tell the stories and remember…

Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!

Today in LGBT History – OCTOBER 15

1926, France – Michel Foucault (15 October 1926 – 25 June 1984), a French philosopher, historian of ideas, and literary critic, is born in Poitiers, France. He died in Paris of AIDS, the first public figure in France to have died from the disease. His partner, Daniel Defert (born 10 September 1937), founded the AIDES charity in his memory.

1937 – Clark Philip Polak (15 October 1937–18 September 1980) was an American businessman, publisher, journalist, and LGBT activist. Polak was from a Jewish middle-class family in Philadelphia and an active and outspoken member of the gay community there, with a leading role in the Philadelphia-based homophile organization, the Janus Society.  In 1964, he created and edited DRUM magazine, a low-budget early gay-interest periodical. Polak argued for the importance of gay sexual liberation which had been avoided in the struggle for gay rights. In 1967, after he was indicted by a federal grand jury on 18 counts of publishing and distributing obscene material, Polak ceased publication of DRUM and moved to Los Angeles, where he became a real estate investor and art collector. He also wrote a series of articles in the Los Angeles Free Press between January 1974 and January 1975. Polak died by suicide in Los Angeles in 1980.

1952 – In Los Angeles, W. Dorr Legg (December 15, 1904—July 26, 1994) and six friends including Dale Jennings, all members of the Mattachine Society, discuss publishing a journal to promote education and research activities beneficial to gay men and lesbians. The magazine ONE, Inc. is founded.

1964 – Composer and songwriting legend Cole Porter (June 9, 1891 – October 15, 1964) dies of kidney failure at age 75. Porter, who was gay, had a committed, lifelong relationship with his wife Linda who knew he was gay from the start and not only tolerated but often encouraged his lifestyle as long as he was not too flamboyant.

1970 – Edna Knowles and Peaches Stevens are married in Liz’s Mark III Lounge in Chicago’s South Side. Jet Magazineprofiled the wedding with the headlineTwo Women ‘Married’ in Chicago.” The Illinois attorney general’s office explained to Jet that there is no state statute that either bans or sanctions such marriages. Although the couple has a “type” of marriage license in their possession, the state’s official marriage license bureau reported it has no record of their license.”

1973 –The Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry Federal Council declares homosexuality not an illness, the first such body in the world to do so. In December of 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-II), based largely on the research and advocacy of UCLA’s Dr. Evelyn Hooker.

1973 – The formation of the National Gay Task Force was announced in New York City. Dr. Howard Brown announces the founding of the National Gay (“and lesbian” was added later) Task Force, considered the first gay or lesbian rights organization with a truly national scope. Dr. Bruce Voeller  (May 12, 1934 – February 13, 1994) is named the first executive director

1974 – The New York Gay Activists Alliance “Firehouse” is destroyed by arson. An early morning fire set by an arsonist destroyed the offices and social center of the Gay Activists Alliance in the former firehouse at 99 Wooster Street in the SoHo section. Morty Manford, the organization’s president, charged that the fire had been set as part of a wave of harassment against gays.

1977 – The Santa Barbara, California, board of education votes to ban discrimination against GLB students, making it the first U.S. school board to do so.

1977 – Federal district court Judge Kimba Wood ruled that shareholders of Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores Inc. should be allowed to vote on retaining a company policy that would forbid employment of gays and lesbians.

1977 – A gay rights ordinance passes in Alexandria, Virginia.

1982 – On this day, a White House Press Secretary is questioned about HIV/AIDS. When asked about the President’s reaction to the announcement that AIDS is now an epidemic, Larry Speakes asks, “What’s AIDS?” When told it was known as the gay plague, Speakes laughed.

1983 – A Washington, D.C., Superior Court judge dismisses a lawsuit brought by gay students against Georgetown University three years earlier, ruling that the students cannot force the university to grant their organization recognition because the federal government does not have an official national policy on homosexual rights.

Stand up, speak out, share your story!




(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at,, #LavenderEffect,, #ArronsGayInfo, #AllThingsQueer, #RSLevinson, #AmaraDasWilhelm,, #SafeSchoolsCoalition, and/or Wikipedia. If you wish to edit an item or add an item, please send an email to me at Thanks!)

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